Move over, diamonds, girls have a new best friend — or should I say ‘breast’ friend.
This is probably going to go down as the strangest thing I have ever written about, but today’s topic is Breast Milk Jewellery.
I’m not even joking. Perth jewellery maker Jasmine Rocca certainly found herself a niche market with the innovative idea to make jewellery from her left over breast milk, and I’m not sure if I’m surprised or not, but making wearable milky creations is, well, a thing now.
Now I have heard of people’s ashes being placed into jewellery — my mother-in-law had her husband’s ashes placed in a hollowed out pearl. It’s a lovely tribute, but there was an awkward moment when my daughter was at that grabby, sucky age and popped the pearl in her gob and my mother-in-law pulled it out and said, ‘No, no darling, get Poppy out of your mouth’.
I can therefore imagine how weird it could be when a mother, complimented on her lovely new necklace, would say, ‘Thanks, I sort of made it myself… it’s my breast milk’.
I knew I had to track Jasmine down, to ask her the question on everybody’s — or every baby’s — lips: Why?
So, Jasmine, how on earth does one come up with this idea?
Well, it’s quite big in the UK, and basically it’s just mixing resin with breast milk, or even placenta or ashes. So when I saw it being done overseas I thought I’d jump on the wagon. I was a hobby jewellery maker before trying my hand at the breast milk.
OK, what’s the deal — is it your breast milk or do ladies send you their own milk?
Yes, the people send me their milk. All the instructions on how to post it are on my website, but basically people post it in a breast milk bag, then I freeze it until I’m ready to make things with it. Once I start the process I mix it with resin and another ingredient which prevents the milk going yellow, which happens when it’s rotting.
Did it ever gross you out? Or did you always think it was an extraordinary idea, making jewellery your baby can suck on?
I don’t think it did gross me out! When you’re a mum you get immune to the gross stuff. We often have breast milk all over us and it didn’t matter to me that it was someone else’s.
How is business going? Are people jumping on board and sending you their breast milk in droves?
I’ve had some pretty mixed feedback. A lot of people are grossed out by it but then a lot of people love the idea. Breastfeeding mothers feel it’s something that goes by so quickly in life and they want to hold on to the memories. I try not to let negative feedback get to me. I don’t read the comments online or listen to the media.
What’s the motivation for mothers? What do they say when they send you their breast milk?
I’ve heard some really amazing stories. One lady got cancer four years ago and had to stop breastfeeding her baby so she could have a double mastectomy, and she kept milk in her freezer for four years because she didn’t have the heart to throw it out. It was nice to help her finally do something with it.
Do people help you design the item they want or do they trust you and your designs?
Most people pick what they’d prefer from the website. The only thing that varies is the shade of white between each, and some people want a mix of breast milk and ashes or placenta and breast milk in one item. Our most popular item is the raindrop pendant.
Wow, placenta is taking it to a whole new level. How do you handle it? With gloves?
When customers send it to me it’s already in capsule form, so it’s dry and it’s like a powder. This is called placenta encapsulation; there are people who will do this for you in your local area.
Personally, I think this is a beautiful way to capture a special time in your life. I love breastfeeding and wish I had been able to do it better and for longer. So best of luck, Jasmine!
Find out more about Jasmine’s work at http://www.breastmilkjewellery.com/.